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Month in Beijing

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
So I'm in Beijing for a month right now interning and living by myself with no one my age to hang out with. I have a budget of 4000-5000 yuan or so (though I can probably raise that) to spend on entertaining myself, and I'm deathly bored. A paltry portion of that budget goes to beer and tobacco but those are so cheap here that that's a negligible cost. My daily 3 basic meals are covered by a meal plan and I've seen all the major historical/cultural attractions with family multiple times so I really have no interest in that. No museums either--as a New Yorker I've had my fill and frankly, I find Chinese museums boring after having been to the one in Taipei.

I'm somewhat fluent in conversational Mandarin and live near Yuquanlu subway station and I work near Jishuitian. However, I'm illiterate which is a bit of a problem. I'm hoping to find some good places to eat/a few good English book stores to occupy my subway rides, but I'm open minded about other stuff too. I have an aunt visiting in a week or so, so she'll take me to a few of the more high end restaurants that she knows of--eating Peking duck or that lamb hot pot thing isn't exactly a single person activity--but I'm hoping to do some exploration on my own. My budget is pretty good for China I imagine but I hope to leave whatever the Chinese equivalent of the French Laundry is to my aunt rather than going and spending absurds amount of money to eat alone. No point in shopping really, as I already use hong kong/New York tailors and the brands I like are much cheaper in America.

I'm actually interested in a few foreign restaurants from other Asian countries or the West. That might sound weird, but something to break up eating Chinese food day to day would be nice though I won't say no to a good Chinese restaurant either.

I much prefer cabs over the crowded trains here which are nicer, but for some reason less comfortable to me than the New York subway, but I'm not sure what cab rides are realistic/economical given I have no geographic perception of Beijing nor understanding of its traffic. Hopefully someone has advice on smart transportation.

Any other tips on living in Beijing would be greatly appreciated also!

P.S. Does anyone know about the chess scene at Beijing? Are there clubs that host day tournaments or anything like that? I love chess and play often in America, but it's just starting to blossom in China.
post #2 of 36
Learn to play weiqi?
post #3 of 36
I spent a month in Beijing last summer interning and will be going back for a few weeks again in about a month. When are you staying until?

As for transportation, I usually took the subway and/or a taxi. Taxis are cheap in Beijing but it's a huge city so fares can get high if you're going across town. If you're looking to save money, I'd suggest finding out what the nearby subway station is and take the subway there and then a taxi.

Some good non-Chinese restaurants I remember:

Crescent Moon - great lamb kebabs and other Uyghur dishes. http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/dining/muslim_xinjiang/has/crescent-moon-muslim-restaurant/

Invincible Ramen - really good ramen, everything else they had was rather terrible. http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/dining/japanese/has/invincible-ramen/

Orient Kitchen - was only here once and had their Singapore style chicken. Was pretty good. Only downside is the location. It's at the Sanlitun Village which is probably the most fake and superficial place in the city filled with expats and rich Chinese showing off.

Maison Boulud - you might want to save this until your aunt gets here but the prices are actually fairly reasonable. Service was top notch and food was delicious. http://www.danielnyc.com/maisonboulud.html
post #4 of 36
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaTionS View Post

I spent a month in Beijing last summer interning and will be going back for a few weeks again in about a month. When are you staying until?

As for transportation, I usually took the subway and/or a taxi. Taxis are cheap in Beijing but it's a huge city so fares can get high if you're going across town. If you're looking to save money, I'd suggest finding out what the nearby subway station is and take the subway there and then a taxi.

Some good non-Chinese restaurants I remember:

Crescent Moon - great lamb kebabs and other Uyghur dishes. http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/dining/muslim_xinjiang/has/crescent-moon-muslim-restaurant/

Invincible Ramen - really good ramen, everything else they had was rather terrible. http://www.cityweekend.com.cn/beijing/listings/dining/japanese/has/invincible-ramen/

Orient Kitchen - was only here once and had their Singapore style chicken. Was pretty good. Only downside is the location. It's at the Sanlitun Village which is probably the most fake and superficial place in the city filled with expats and rich Chinese showing off.

Maison Boulud - you might want to save this until your aunt gets here but the prices are actually fairly reasonable. Service was top notch and food was delicious. http://www.danielnyc.com/maisonboulud.html

This is so useful. I'll definitely try one of these places tonight. I'm there until the 20th of August, after which I'm going to Kunming to visit family.
post #5 of 36
Here's my experience:
Beijing cabs are just like the luxury goods there...there are a lot of fakes...really good fakes; if you're not venturing into the 2nd ring, this doesn't really present a problem except, occasionally, the driver won't know where he's going; thus, you'll pay more and may be dropped in the general vicinity of your destination. A driver of an illegitimate cab will agree to take you into the 2nd ring but after you get in and start moving, he'll give you an excuse as to why he can't.
This kind of thing happened at least daily; luckily, I was always with native Mandarin speakers, so a lot of arguing/yelling would ensue, threats to photograph the cab's certificate and plates, we'd get out and hail another cab. I found the exchanges quite entertaining (a glimpse of the Chinese culture); everyone else seemed annoyed at the inconvenience.
Thanks for the restaurant recommendations, Nations; I'll be back in Beijing in Oct. and will definitely check out Crescent Moon.
post #6 of 36
You go to one museum in Taiwan so you write off all museums in China? Wow. lol--good luck at life dude.

I can't remember the name of it but there is a good muslim Chinese restaurant near the mosque (I spent a month in Beijing few years ago and a week there the year before). There is a Belgian restaurant with a great beer selection, check Beer Advocate for the name if Google doesn't help. Try the scorpion in the hutongs (are there any left?)

Cabs will work for you.
post #7 of 36
Fei Chang Tai has very good thai food. I would avoid Maison Boulud unless you are really craving French. It's about the same price as Daniel but quality is lower.

Go to a performance at the opera house / great hall of the people.

You could also spend a morning/afternoon at 798, although it can be quite commercial these days.

Fly to Sanya for the weekend.
post #8 of 36
Tips on living there? Buy a respirator. The kind you'd use for painting a house. smile.gif

I like Mei Zhou Dong Po for 24/7 cheap sichuan xiao chi (many locations all over BJ), Wu Shan Kao Quan Yu at Wei Gong Cun has probably the best roast fish if you don't mind diarrhea. Just chill out at San Li Tun if you have nothing to do. I hate 798.
post #9 of 36
This is my 2nd year in Beijing now. Summer is the worst time to be in Beijing, the summer humidity + pollution combo here is ridclous

check out http://www.thebeijinger.com/ if you're looking for some foreign restaurant reviews, but expect shitty service and bad knocks offs

check out http://www.bjstuff.com/forum if you're looking for social events

there are tons of foreign books around, for 10 RMB (they might be missing pages through), or just get a e-reader and download some.

I would stay away from black cabs, they make a living on riping the wallet of foreigners

houhai is a really really nice place to spread out and do some reading, but it has became a tourist trap (especially at night)

if you're looking to slut around, just go to Sanlitun Village, and local girls will be raping you in no time, *only works if you're white through*

p.s. there is no chess here, only chinese chess, which you can go to the park and challenge one of the dojo elders
post #10 of 36
No matter what people tell you don't go to the night food market at Wangfujing. It's a complete tourist trap and the food is awful.

There's an alley (hutong) that I can't remember the name of right now but it's basically hipster central for Beijing. If you ask around I'm sure someone will know. It's worth a visit if you're looking for stuff to do. Also, if you do go try to make it before 1PM-ish as there's a store that sells this steamed milk thing that's delicious. They make everything in the morning so by 2PM they are usually sold out.
post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by NaTionS View Post

No matter what people tell you don't go to the night food market at Wangfujing. It's a complete tourist trap and the food is awful.

There's an alley (hutong) that I can't remember the name of right now but it's basically hipster central for Beijing. If you ask around I'm sure someone will know. It's worth a visit if you're looking for stuff to do. Also, if you do go try to make it before 1PM-ish as there's a store that sells this steamed milk thing that's delicious. They make everything in the morning so by 2PM they are usually sold out.

Nan Luo Gu Xiang?
post #12 of 36
Yea WangFuJing isn't all that great. ^^^

There are a ton of great restaurants in Beijing, I remember a great Ding Tai Fung and Taiwanese restaurant at XingKongSanYe and some random places at SanLiTun.

Just hit up some random tourists or locals if you're looking for friends, I thought it was so easy to make friends in Beijing.
post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by changy View Post


Nan Luo Gu Xiang?

There are some cheap western-style bars there actually, maybe 25 rmb a cocktail.
post #14 of 36
Beijing in the summer, I strongly suggest that the OP get one of these...
500
post #15 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eason View Post


There are some cheap western-style bars there actually, maybe 25 rmb a cocktail.

And MM's from near by drama school.
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